Subliminal Freshness

October 03, 2007 By: erik Category: Food, Musings, Reviews 966 views

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I miss Altoids. I didn’t really use them much when I was living in the US, but I bought a couple tins one time when leaving the States, and got kinda hooked on ’em. I’ve never seen Altoids for sale in Europe. What they do have here are Fisherman’s Friends, which I would say are probably stronger than Altoids. Most of the flavors contain menthol and give your nerves that hypersensitive to cold feeling.

The other day, I was in the local tobacconist shop buying some cigars for my wedding guests, and I noticed they had a pretty extensive array of breath mints. (Makes sense, you stinky-mouthed smokers!) I saw an Altoids-sized tin and got a little excited. It turned out to be from another big player in the minty freshness word: tic tac (officially styled in lowercase). It’d been years since I bought some tic tacs, so I bought a tin.

They were good. Sweet and not too strong. Since I’m used to the strong stuff, it was a little like cocaine to a heroin user: better than nothing, but a poor substitute.

What I thought was clever about their packaging, and motivated this post, was some sly usage of subliminal imagery. When you open the tin, there’s this photo of an ideal clean, fresh, minty scene in the Alps. I bet you could put placebos in the tin and people would report a minty fresh feeling.

That was all. The tin is nice and sturdy like an Altoids tin, so much so that it’s hard to throw away because it just seems so useful for storing stuff.

Tic Tac Tin

Tic Tac Tin

  • Hmmm, I’ll have to keep an eye out for this. I’m a regular user of tic tacs (a quick look in the desk drawer shows my supply at eight boxes, plus two super-sized). We also occasionally call in imported supplies of Altoids, particularly the cinnamon ones my wife likes.

    Related: my favorite tic tacs are the blue-packaged “extra strong mints”. They, too, need to be imported (from Italy) — why are they available there but not in Slovenia? Is it a Schengen thing?

  • “In the foothills of the Alps in the Piedmont region…”

    Which is it, Ferrero? Foothills or Piedmont? They’re two distinct things.

    I have never seen tic tacs in anything other than the little plastic box. I feel cheated now.

    Also, you Altoids people mystify me. If those thing aren’t burning an actual hole in my tongue they’re leaving a decidedly ass aftertaste. Except for the sours. I love the sours.

  • Slovenia’s not in Schengen for another 2.5 months? I didn’t realize you were so uncool. I don’t think we can hang out anymore until 2008.

    Jane, care to elaborate on the difference between foothills and piedmont? Is piedmont (obviously meaning “foot of the mountain”) closer to the mountain range than foothills?

    sgazzetti, I love the cinnamon Altoids. Now those really will burn a hole in your tongue.

  • Ahhhh… the Piedmont region! In that case there probably are “foothills…in the Piedmont region”.

  • Fentos

    My god. The only packaging I have enjoyed Tic Tacs in is a small and cheap plastic coffin. I feel genuinely like a raped man.